Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chicken anyone?

Why did the chicken cross the road?

SARAH PALIN: The chicken crossed the road because gosh-darn it, he's a maverick!

BARACK OBAMA: The chicken crossed the road because it was time for change! The chicken wanted change!

JOHN MC CAIN: My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

HILLARY CLINTON: When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road.
This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure right from Day One that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

DICK CHENEY: Where's my gun?

COLIN POWELL: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with that chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

AL GORE: I invented the chicken.

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

AL SHARPTON: Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.

DR. PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on this side of the road before it goes after the problem on the other side of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his current problems before adding new problems.

OPRAH: Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls,which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a NEW CAR so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

NANCY GRACE: That chicken crossed the road because he's guilty! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

MARTHA STEWART: No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.

DR SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain, alone.

GRANDPA: In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

BARBARA WALTERS: Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish it's lifelong dream of crossing the road.

ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken2010, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook. Internet Explorer is an integral part of eChicken2010. This new platform is much more stable and will never reboot.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Third Culture | NewSong Church

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Graduate classes begin at Barclay College

Barclay College announces her first Graduate level course called "The Blessing in Theology and Practice"

Barclay College has been approved to offer the graduate level course in The Blessing in Theology and Practice beginning this fall.

This course will be a core class in the anticipated Barclay College School for Graduate Studies. IIt will be offered online and alumnus of Barclay College can participate at a reduced tuition rate in an effort to further prepare them as ministry leaders.

The discount is available to ANY alumnus of Barclay College for this class.

You do not have to be a degree seeking students or an alum to take the class.

The class will include interaction with Dr. John Trent, Dr. Tony Wheeler,
and Dr. Adrian Halverstadt.

If you would like more information on fall enrollment in The Blessing in Theology and Practice. Contact Dr. Royce Frazier or Kevin Lee or call: 1-800-862-0226

Dates for the fall class is August 30 – October 8, 2010. Students are also required to complete a two week orientation class prior to starting any online class. There is no cost for the orientation class.

Orientation classes are conducted every six weeks throughout the fall and spring semesters.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Walk in the Light

Robert Barclay wrote, It is the grace of God at work in the life of a Christian that conforms them into the likeness of Christ. However, the grace of God can differ in its effect based upon the will of the individual. It is much like the action of the sun in that it can harden clay or melt wax. Its beams cause flowers to send forth beautiful color, pleasant aroma, and cause fruit to ripen ever of sweetly. But cast a lifeless carcass into its beams and the rays of sun will cause it to putrefy and have an evil odor.

When the sun of righteousness shines upon an individual soul it can be melted and influenced to send forth good fruit and a good savor. But if the individual wills to remain in sin the same sun will harden him as it does the clay and his wickedness will be more apparent and its putrefying effect will send forth an evil savor (Barclay's Apology, pg. 94).

Let us will to walk in the Light for Jesus Christ is the LIGHT!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What's in a name? (part 4)

Over the past several weeks I have re-read Robert Barclay's Apology and enjoyed comparing it to my own theological convictions. Also during this time, I have wondered on numerous ocasion if God is not calling Barclay College (BC) to revisit the theological and philosophical distinctions of early Quakers given the unique opportunities He seems to be presenting to her in global expansion and partnership. Unfortunately today, it seems that many who accentuate the teachings of early Quakers are liberal in focus and more social in orientation rather than biblical, incarnational and evangelistic like BC.

So again I ask, could God be philosophically re-visioning and re-orienting BC much like He did the Society of Friends in the 1600 and 1700's? Is it time for a revival in Biblical Hermeneutics to balance the Reformed Interpretation of scripture that seems to be prevalent in today's Post Modern Church? Is God calling Evangelical Friends to re-take their place in history once again as the Radical Reformers of the Church as they did so many centuries ago? Is God calling BC to be different than other Christian institutions of higher learning and seek to expand her influence globally through online and extension work for the sake of church planting and growth rather than just limiting her resources and effort to a specific geographical plot of real estate?

I assume more discussion and empirical study is needed to really answer most of the above questions but in my heart the answer is "yes." God is raising Barclay College up for such a time as this and a key component of this transformation will include her embracing the values and philosophies of old as they are lead by the Holy Spirit and affirmed in the scriptures. I think this will be true of Evangelical Friends as a whole as well. God is drawing us back to our roots for greater impact for His kingdom and glory.

One area God may be challenging Quakerdom to re-visit in both theology and practice is in the way scripture is viewed. It seems for many today scripture is idolized and actually becomes a hindrance to Christ likeness and discerning God's will and direction. Let me explain my statement.

In my understanding of scripture, an idol is anything man places between self and God in relationship. The Bible is not deity or is it the Mediator between God and man. Jesus Christ is the only Mediator and Means to the Father according to sacred literature. The revelation of Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the sanctified Christian is the only means to intimacy with God and divine Truth for daily living.

Barclay says, "At this point the Bible must be viewed secondary in importance. It is not deity and can only be rightly interpreted through the Holy Spirit by the sanctified individual. Thus the Bible cannot be considered the first principle source of truth and knowledge ... the first principle source must be Truth Himself.

The scriptures are to be esteemed as a looking glass that defines Truth as a Person-Jesus Christ, explains how to receive and walk in or with Truth, tells of the conditions and experiences of ancient Believers in their relational journey with Truth, and serves as a plumb line for maintaining balance in the Christian life." (Apology, p. 50, 57, 59-60) Barclay's conclusion was the "Bible is of little value to man in his carnal state. Those who feel entirely satisfied he says, have been filled with the Holy Spirit and have been inwardly taught by the Holy Spirit" (p. 47).

I concur with Robert Barclay on this point and desire Barclay College to teach students the biblical imperative to be filled with the Holy Spirit in conjunction with sound biblical hermeneutics. For unless there is a transfer of nature in the life of Christian one in not equipped to rightly interpret the scriptures or to be lead by the Spirit of God. Accurate biblical interpretation must begin with heart purity. Only through the act of entire sanctification can the carnal nature be purged and the ability to obtain and emulate Truth be found. I want students to understand this and embrace the principle of Barclay's third proposition.

I want the denomination I love and respect to esteem sacred literature for all the biblical reasons stated above. I wish for her to return to teaching and preaching the rich doctrine of heart purity that is consequential to full consecration and obedience to Jesus Christ. Let's return to a belief system that distinguished us from so many other denominations in the beginning. Let's return to a teaching which empowers people to emulate the life and teaching of Truth Himself. What say you?

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What's in a Name? (part 3)

Over the past two weeks I have enjoyed re-reading Robert Barclay's Apology and comparing his convictions to my own. I have identified several connecting points between the Quaker patriarch and my vision for the College which bears his name. Some of them I intend to share in this venue and invite discussion from those who care to think in a similar vain.

I have also enjoyed engaging the staff at Willoughby Hills Friends on Barclay's theology. The staff here are great thinkers and enjoy lively discussion. I will miss the day to day interaction with them when my transition to Kansas occurs in July (Lord willing). I appreciate their sense of humor as well. While discussing the Apology with our Pastor of Singles Walt Scheiman, he made the comment that maybe someday Barclay's Apology will be interpreted as "we are sorry we hired Halverstadt!" Well it seemed funny at the time. (You have got to love him!)

So what other connecting points exist between Robert Barclay and my vision for the academic endeavors of the College that bears his name? I like the way the Apology approaches and defines Truth. It seems as if Barclay defines Truth as a Person and His name is Jesus Christ.

The first class I will teach on campus next fall is Philosophy. I've facilitated the class online in the past and look forward to the f2f (face to face) interaction with the student body. One of my favorite exercises in Philosophy is to the contrast the main thinkers of yesterday and today and their quest for truth with that of Jesus Christ and the Bible. Some of them did not get very far in their search. Take Frenchman Rene Descartes for example. Basically his lifetime journey is summed up in one phrase, "I think, therefore I am." I doubt that Rene died a satisfied man.

The principle interest in life is to find truth and the field of higher education is no different. It is driven by the search for truth but it is not limited to just educators, ivory towers and philosophers. The quest for truth affects all facets of society and life, even love. Scripture teaches that "Truth" and "Love" are One in the same. Jesus Christ is both Love and Truth.

Barclay claimed that "Truth can only be embraced with the heart and the head and that he despised the schoolmen who said that you can do so with either one or the other" (Apology, pg. 1). He also framed the importance of repentance for Friends by stating that "sincere repentance leads to the acknowledgement of the Truth" (Apology, pg. 3), and "to the height of all happiness in life" (pg. 4). I concur with Barclay's definition of Truth and that the Holy Spirit as the divine Agent who leads Christians into repentance, relationship with Truth and guides one's life and transformation in accordance with the scriptures.

It would be my desire for students at Barclay College to know that the acquisition of knowledge can only be derived in the framework of Truth and Love. That the genesis of Truth is Jesus Christ and He must be central in life. Also, I would desire students to understand and experience heart purity when seeking to define truth and acquiring knowledge. Heart purity occurs through a conscious act of the will, when the Christian fully surrenders to Christ and allows the love of the Savior to purge the heart with His love and righteousness. Only then can Truth enter into the innermost parts of an individual and bring enlightenment. Only then can true happiness be experienced.

Truth and Love go hand in hand. So what good is knowledge if it does not lead to loving and serving both God and man? The glory of God is man fully alive. The life Jesus wills for humanity in John 10:10 and elsewhere is the impartation of God's life in man. Only then can Christians fulfill the Great Commandment "to love God and man unconditionally" and successfully engage the Great Commission to "go into the world and make disciples baptizing them into this very life." I want our students to know, experience and practice this reality ... and that's the truth!

Thanks for stopping by!

What's in a Name? (part 2)

As I discussed in my last post, the transition in name from Friends Bible College to Barclay College in 1990 was not philosophically rooted in the teachings of Quaker theologian Robert Barclay but was simply historical in nature. But what about the future direction of the College? Could God be calling the College back to a similar template forged by the founders of the Quaker movement?

Consider Robert Barclay as an example. It states in his Apology that one primary reason for writing this work was to be "uniquely personal in his thinking through of his own religious journey from the strict Calvinism of his youth to his Quaker convincement" (pg. xix). In fact, many scholars of Barclay have noted down through the centuries that "one of the most significant portions of the Apology has been his direct counter to Calvin's doctrine that was prevalent in the churches of his day" (Apology, pg. xxiii).

Could it be that through the rebirth of Barclay College over this past decade that God intends for her to offset the strong Reformed theology of the Post-Modern Church in order to balance the theological palette of His Kingdom? Other than at her conception in the early 1600's, I can think of no better time in the history of the Church for Evangelical Friends to be exclusive in her doctrinal orientation. Just as God used Quakers centuries ago to reform the Church after the Great Reformation so He may be calling Evangelical Friends to balance His Church theologically at this time.

The theological palette of God's Church is made up of a rainbow of color in which the Holiness movement of Friends is a part. My vision for Barclay College is to have our students exposed to the full theological color board of God's Church in their under graduate studies, critique His palette through our future Masters program, and contribute original expressions to it in our future Doctor of Arts degree that will support the rich theology of Friends.

In my opinion the theological expressions found in orthodox Christianity is not a matter of right or wrong, good or bad, but just simply to be viewed as different. Thus, there should be mutual respect for one another, appreciation for the differences and the contribution each one makes towards the glory of God and the good of Christ's kingdom.

However, when it comes to the future of Barclay College I think God may be leading her to be more intentional in theological focus. Maybe future hires will be men and women who are not only proven scholars but are people who are convinced that through the atonement of Jesus Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, that Christians can have the life of God imparted into their very being, enabling them to live without sin and to emulate the life and teachings of Jesus.

Perhaps in the future God may lead Barclay College to people of high academics who believe and can articulate to students that at the time of full consecration a second distinct work of grace occurs and a literal transfer of nature takes place in the Christian. Through this definitive act the recipient becomes entirely sanctified which purges the conscious, perfects the heart in love, and provides Christ followers with a perfect standing and relationship with their Creator.

I believe the future educational matrix of Barclay College should not only expose students to the rich doctrine of holiness but provide practical application as well. I would like to see every student receive multiple exposure to the fullness of the Holy Spirit through their Barclay College experience, knows what the life of holiness looks like in everyday life based upon our tradition, have an understanding of how it is structured vocationally, and be committed to it's globalization for the transformation of the world and the glory of God.

Like queen Esther from the Old Testament, possibly God has raised Barclay College up "for such a time as this." I may not agree with all of Robert Barclay's propositions as defined in his Apology but concerning the doctrine of holiness we are yoke-men. This aspect of his philosophy I would like to see Barclay College expand into her future academics. Who knows, as far as the future of Barclay College is concerned, there may be several connecting points with the historical name she bears.

Thanks for stopping by!

What's In A Name?

In the days of old, names were often used to define an individual or a community. We find multiple examples of this in the scriptures. I have wondered the same about Barclay College. Does the fact that it bears the name of Robert Barclay mean something? Does it define who she is?

According to former president Dr. Glenn Leppert the transition in name from Friends Bible College to Barclay College in 1990 was not necessarily associated with the philosophy of Robert Barclay but was more historical in nature. Dr. Leppert states that “Robert Barclay as the first theologian, or at least the first to write on behalf of the Friends, was the one thing that led the college to use his name. We also wanted someone to combine academics with spirituality and many were impressed with his quote that no amount of education could replace the work of the Spirit” (Email, May 19, 2010).

I am encouraged by this revelation for several reasons. First, I like the idea that Barclay College seeks to align herself first and foremost with the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and not with the philosophies of men. No doubt Robert Barclay was a good man and has positively impacted Friends and the Kingdom of God in some extraordinary ways but sacred literature tells us to emulate Jesus. Thank you Barclay College for your sensitivity in this matter when selecting another name.

Second, I like the dual track Barclay College follows in fulfilling her mission statement. By dual track I am referring to her emphasis on the personal work of the Holy Spirit in the academic life of the student body. I believe it is the work of the Holy Spirit which transforms lives, calls forth workers into the Kingdom and blesses the labor of Christians in their preparation and practice. To pursue academics without the unction of the Holy Spirit would not distinguish Barclay College from many other institutions nor would it adequately prepare students for engaging the demands of ministry in the 21st century.

I am excited to be joining the staff at Barclay College in the next few months. I feel honored to be a part of the narrative God is writing in Haviland Kansas. It is a new day for Barclay. In less than ten years God has raised her like a phoenix from the ashes of despair and destruction to glorify Himself and to globally resource the Evangelical Friends Church and support His Kingdom agenda in the 21st century. As Robert Barclay penned in the late 1600's, "I am confident that with God's help there is nothing that I cannot do when I have devoted myself and all that is mine to Jesus Christ" (Barclay's Apology, pg. xix). Maybe there is something in the name after all... Hmmmm ....

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Good Reading

Here's some Fodder for your Heart

Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child.

The Winner:

A four year old boy whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. - Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked him what he said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."

Honorable Mentions:

Teacher Debbie Moon's first graders were discussing a picture of a family. - One little boy in the picture had a different color hair than the other family members.- One child suggested that he was adopted and a little girl said, "I know all about adoptions because I was adopted." "What does it mean to be adopted?" asked another child. "It means," said the little girl, "that you grew in your mommy's heart instead of her tummy."

A four year old was at the pediatrician for a check up - As the doctor looked down in her ears, he asked, "Do you think I'll find Big Bird in here?" The little girl stayed silent. The doctor took a look down her throat, he asked, "Do you think I will find the Cookie Monster in here?" The little girl stayed silent. - Then, as the doctor was listening to her heart, he asked, "Do you think I will hear Barney in here?" The little girl broke here silence and said, "No ! You will find Jesus in my heart, but Barney is on my underwear."

As I was driving home from work one day, I stopped to watch a local Little League baseball game that was being played in a park near my home. - As I sat down behind the bench on the first-base line, I asked one of the boys what the score was. "We're behind 14 to nothing," he answered with a smile. "Really," I said. "I have to say, you don't look very discouraged." "Discouraged?" the boy asked with a puzzled look on his face. "Why should we be discouraged? We haven't been up to bat yet."

Whenever I am disappointed with my spot in life, I stop and think about little Jamie Scott. - Jamie was trying out for a part in the school play. His mother told me that he'd set his heart on being in it, though she feared he would not be chosen. - On the day the parts were awarded, I went with her to pick up Jamie after school. Jamie rushed up to her, eyes shining with pride and excitement. "Guess what Mom," he shouted, and then said those words that will remain a lesson to me: "I've been chosen to clap and cheer."

A lesson in "heart" is 10 year old Sarah, who was born with a muscle missing in her foot, and wears a brace all the time. - She came home one beautiful spring day and told me she had competed in "field day" - that's where they have lots of races and other competitive events. - Because of her leg support, my mind raced as I tried to think of encouragement for my Sarah, things I could say to her about not letting this get her down, but before I could get a word out, she said, "Daddy, I won two of the races!" I couldn't believe it! And then Sarah said, "I had an advantage." Ah, I knew it, I thought she must have been given a head start....some special privilege due to wearing a brace. - Sarah said, "But Daddy, I didn't get a head start; my advantage was that I had to work harder than the others!"

An eye witness account from New York City on a cold day in December: A little boy about 10 years old was standing in front of a shoe store window, barefooted and shivering from the cold. - A lady approached the boy and said, "My little fellow, why are you looking so earnestly in that window?" "I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes," was the boys reply. The lady took him by the hand and went into the store and asked the clerk to get half a dozen pairs of socks for the little boy. She then asked if he could give her a basin of warm water, some soap and a towel. He quickly brought them to her. She took the little fellow to the back part of the store and, removing her gloves, knelt down, washed his little feet, and dried them with the towel. - By this time the clerk had returned with the socks.....Placing a pair of socks upon his little feet, she purchased a pair of shoes for him..- She tied up the remaining pairs of socks, and gave them to the boy. - She patted him on the head and said, "No doubt, my little fellow, you feel more comfortable now?" As she turned to go, the astonished lad caught her by the hand, and looking up in her face, with tears in his eyes, answered the question wit h these words: "Are you God's Wife?"

"We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere." -- Tim McGraw

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Emily's post

A teacher from the International School in Brazil posted this in her blog. I thought I would share it with you. How encouraging it is to see God using the simple things to glorify Himself! Enjoy ...

By: Emily Taylor
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Acacias Community Church, Carpina, Brazil

Over the past several months, there have been some changes within the Acacias Community Church. The first big addition was a monthly prayer vigil. The meeting is held once a month and the participants spend the night praying at the church. The week after the first meeting, three people decided to follow Christ! We are experiencing how God moves, when His church prays.

Another big step for the church involved re-starting the English classes. Last semester Pat Hood began an English class for the women of the church & the school. It was a huge success, with the men asking for a class of their own. As we discussed Pat's class & saw the implementation of it, I began to see a fuller picture of the potential of English classes within the churches. Jeff, Lindsay, Ricardo, & I have been teaching English at the church in Lagao de Itaenga for some time now, but, as for me, I saw it much in the same way as I saw my English classes at the school. Through the new class, I began to see how powerful an English class within the church can be. Tele & Heather saw this as well. So, a few weeks after the prayer vigil started, they started English classes at the church. And what a turn out! The second week Tele had over 30 people in the beginners' class and Heather had around 10 in the more advanced class. A few of the Americans (Paul & Ruth) and an English-speaking Brazilian (Jaciel) are now helping with the load. There are four classes. People from the church, the school, and the community are coming an hour before church for English class. Many of them then stay for the church service. The Acacias Community church has always been very small but over the past several months it has grown dramatically. It has been fun to see. Please pray for continued growth within the Community Church of Acacias and that the Lord would use this little church in a powerful way.

Also, the pastor of Guadalajara Community Church (Carlos), some of the other American missionaries, and I are planning to start a new English program at the church in Guadalajara next week. Please pray that the church would be empowered to form new relationships through this program and that the Lord will be glorified.
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Religion in Brazil

I have been studying up on religion in Brazil. Today there seems to be quite a diversity. In the 18th century Brazil's official religion was Roman Catholic. This was due to the Portuguese people who were the first settlers and conquerors from Europe. Later as the Portuguese brought slaves from Africa to work on the plantations, the religion started to take on a different look. Even though the slaves were forbidden to practice their religions they managed to maintain their beliefs and doctrines. Since 1889, when the Brazilian Constitution was set forth, Brazil ceased to have an official religion and today the Constitution guarantees absolute freedom of religion.

According to the 2000 census, most of Brazil's population still claims to be Roman Catholic, however, there are many other religious groups in Brazil. Some of these are: Protestant, Pentecostal, Episcopal, Methodist, Lutheran, and Baptist. In addition there are over a million and a half Spiritualists or Kardescists (also known as spirit tappers or mediums) who follow after the doctrines of the French philosopher Allan Kardec. The Spiritualists believe in reincarnation. There are followers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; small minorities of Jews; Muslims, Buddhists and numerous followers of Candomble and Umbanda (especially in northern Brazil). What is Candomble and Umbanda?

Candomble is a religion that was brought to Brazil by slaves from Nigeria. It is polytheistic and worships a number of African deity. Candomble believes that everyone is born with a patron god. Today, a blending of Catholicism and Candomble is practiced by many people throughout Brazil.

Umbanda is a religion derived from Candomble coupled with Christianity and Kardecism and is widely practiced thoughtout Brazil. Umbanda believes there is one supreme creator god who gives power to spirits of deceased people to counsel and guide believers. These dead spirits are also being transformed through spiritual evolution into other life forms and physical material.

Hmmm ... interesting. It sounds like Evangelical Friends has their work cut out for years to come. Let's get it on for the glory of Jesus Christ!

Thanks for your support and prayers ...

Classic sermon

Today I watched a classic sermon on TV. It was Rex Humbard preaching in the early 70's. His text was Mark 10 and the rich young ruler. His title, "Between two thieves." Humbard's key point: just as Jesus was crucified on a cross between two thieves two thousand years ago He is today by church people.

The two thieves are "what I should have done for Jesus yesterday but didn't" and "what I plan to do for Him tomorrow. The problem? Yesterday cannot be revisited and tomorrow never comes. All that matters is what we do for Jesus today!"

Thanks Rex for your years of service to Christ's kingdom. I'm sure you are enjoying your heavenly reward! I plan to as well someday.
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Buddha and the Bible

Tradition as I understand it says that Gautama (a man later known as the Buddha)was from a wealthy family and experienced worldly happiness in his younger years. At some point his happiness was shattered when he became aware of the common sufferings of life. His fixation with suffering lead him away from his family at age 29 at which time he shaved his hair and put on yellow garments. He lived in solitude, frequently moving from place to place in order to avoid people and discover enlightenment through fasting, solitude and meditation.

When this failed to provide Gautama inner peace he gave up fasting and solitude and one night under a fig tree had a great awakening to discovered what he called the path to salvation (commonly known as the middle path). The doctrine of Buddha teaches the end goal is Nirvana (the passing away of worldly existence into eternity where suffering no longer exists). To get to Nirvana one must endure several life times of suffering on earth in various forms. Redemption as defined by Gautama is living with the reality that all of the life times one must experience are a form of suffering which must be passed through successfully by doing good deeds and meditating on the knowledge gleaned from past experiences and the hope one has for future Nirvana. Tradition says that under the fig tree Gautama was transformed into the Buddha. His redemption experience so filled him with joy that he squat at the base of the fig tree for seven days.

For many centuries now Buddha has been portrayed as a big man squatting under a fig tree. His disciples still favor fall colors for their garments because it symbolizes the leaves of a tree just before passing from one life into the next. A process of suffering they believe all living creatures must pass through on middle path to Nirvana.

The Bible teaches in Romans that all men know about God through conscience, circumstances and creation. No doubt Gautama's quest for redemption was actually the grace of God calling him to a personal relationship with his Creator and to experience the true redemption that comes only through Jesus Christ. For those who accept the Divine invitation righteousness, peace and joy is experienced instantaneously. For those who reject the Creator's call the inner striving continues and quest for peace remains.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Socrates and Jesus

What if Socrates had met Jesus? I wonder how his life would have changed? He was truly a great thinker whose influence continues on to this day in philosophy. As we look back on his life we can see the fingerprint of God in his thoughts but to our knowledge Socrates never came to know the one true God. What if he had?

The significance of Socrates's approach to life is that one must know one's ignorance and embark upon a journey of thought. That through an awareness of what one does not know one will arrive at the very knowledge that is crucial for life. For Socrates, the good life consisted of the insatiable desire for self revelation.

He also believed in deity. That the traditional gods of his culture would help man in self discovery and lead man to ultimate truth. Through a process known to him as "daimonion" the gods would direct one through an inner voice that required obedience beyond reason for higher knowledge to be found. That man should trust the inner leading of deity and risk living in freedom as though he know good existed and was leading towards truth.

Socrates held to the immortality of the human soul. That peace of mind in life is based upon such certainty and that sources of doubt are removed through "pursuing good." Good for Socrates was a combination of self discovery and obeying the inner voice of deity.

Socrates took his own life in 399 B.C. by drinking poison. Some say the last thing he is known for saying is, "perhaps it is well to bathe before drinking the hemlock, and so spare the women the trouble of washing my body." One wonders how the story might have ended if Socrates had responded to the transforming call of God on his life?

Like Socrates, so many today are searching for inner peace and joy. Like the philosopher of old they too are forging a theory of thought and practice as a means to their final destination and yet, peace and joy eludes them just the same. Could you be such a person?

We must all yield to the call and plan of God in order to find righteousness, peace and joy. It can only be realized by those who have relationship with Jesus Christ and fully surrender self to His will. Know thyself today ... true living is absent until Jesus is present. Meet Jesus today!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Prayer request

This week as you join me in praying for the new Evangelical Friends Church mission field opening in Brazil later on this month would you specifically ask God to help me be successful in accomplishing my vision for this trip. My vision is to be known as the “eyes and feet” of the Evangelical Friends Church-Eastern Region on the ground in northern Brazil gathering information useful for discernment and implementation of Kingdom building opportunities and as an extension of her “heart” for the Brazilian people to feel, define, and develop trust in for future partnership in ministry.

The intelligence of an organization is measured in two primary ways today. One, by how effectively it can gather, process and respond to information. Two, by how it impacts others relationally. Providing good organizational and relational intelligence is a must for this first missionary sortie.

Thank you for your prayers,

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Brazil objectives

Mission Trip Performa
March 18-30, 2010
Submitted by: Adrian Halverstadt

Vision: (What do I want this mission trip to be primarily known for?)
Through this mission trip I want to be known as the “eyes and feet” of the Evangelical Friends Church-Eastern Region on the ground in northern Brazil gathering information useful for discernment and implementation of Kingdom building opportunities and as an extension of her “heart” for the Brazilian people to feel, define, and develop trust in for future partnership in ministry.

Mission: (What is my purpose for this mission trip?)
Evangelical Friends Church-Eastern Region
- To assist in opening a new mission field in Brazil with the intent of having at least one new EFC-ER church established by Easter of 2011 and an additional churches in the Following years.

- To obtain pertinent information for discernment and future planning
> Identify four church planting locations in the region of Carpina, Brazil
> Gather pictures and video useful for planning, promotion and prayer
> Identify indigenous Spirit-filled leadership and establish an international virtuous cycle of communication:

- Locate a “leader among leaders” who is strong in administration and savvy in communication
- Locate two leaders who possess a call and skill set for church planting and a fervor for evangelism

Virtuous communication:
- to develop a narrative of shared interest, passionate goals, ideas and tools, and
God stories of success

- develop a relational connection among leaders and supporters (future goal is to obtain 1000 supporters with virtual connection)

- to create mobilization through education, empowerment, and respect

- Define EFC-ER to Brazilians as an international community of Christ followers
who are “Great Command and Commission” in purpose

Willoughby Hills Friends Church
- To extend the ministry and influence of WHFC into Brazil

- To stoke the fire of excitement and expectancy during this time of transition
at WHFC by representing her as a commissioned servant, sharing favorable
reports on God’s activity in Brazil, and identifying connection points for future
involvement and the sharing of resources in northern Brazil for the glory of God.

- To answer the call/leading of the Holy Spirit to support the vision of EFC-ER

- To assess and discern future ministry opportunities for the Halverstadts in Brazil

- To exercise my spiritual gifts of preaching, teaching and administration as
opportunities present in Brazil

Barclay College
- To explore opportunities for BC to engage Kingdom building in Brazil through
partnership with EFC, Community Churches, and World Renewal International

Demonstrate Association:
- BC is an Evangelical Friends institution of higher education and is Great
Command and Commission in purpose.

- BC can quantitatively impact EFC’s vision for Brazil through human resources
> short term - faculty an staff can facilitate church teams

> mid term - faculty and students can provide extended on site service in
4-12 week intervals
- indigenous training
- field development
- higher relational intelligence and cultural relevance

> long term - greater exposure to students to the work of the Holy Spirit
through EFC missions with the hope that many would decide to return
for long term service

- BC can raise the organizational intelligence of EFC’s missions by:
> placing more skilled personnel on the field to gather information, assess
cultural needs, and network on location over longer periods
of time (8-12 week periods).

- Greater exposure for Barclay College to EFC and world

- Strengthen the academic matrix of BC through cross culture experience

- Expands the mission statement of BC internationally

- Explore the viability of a BC extension site in northeast Brazil

Objectives: (How will I focus my resources and measure my success?)
- Fulfill the stated vision and mission as stated

- Meet the rigors of the trip itinerary as listed below:
3/18 - Mission Board at WOC at 9:30 am
- Depart Akron/Canton Airport at 6:30 pm
3/19- Travel
3/20-29 -TBD (by Frank and Tele)
3/30-31 - Travel

Strategy: (What S.M.A.R.T. “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and
Time-bound” goals do I have in preparation for the trip?)

- Purchase tickets by 2/20 (done $1499.70)

- Secure 40 prayer partners by 2/22 (44 as of 2/23)

- Post weekly prayer updates on my blog and FB page

- Apply for a Brazilian tourist Visa by 3/6

- Set itinerary with Frank and Tele by 3/6

- Submit final draft of the trip Performa to Dr. John Williams by 3/6

- Finalize budget by 3/6
Air - $1499.70
Ground transportation, lodging & food - $1000 (per Frank’s estimation)
Brazilian tourist visa - $300

- Prepare sermons, lectures and interview questionnaire by 3/17

- Pick up video equipment and cell phone with GMS from WOC on 3/18

- Attend Mission Board meeting on 3/18
Thanks for reading this and I apologize for the formatting (Blogspot is not cooperating with me today)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Family Life Seminar at WHFC

Dr. John Trent
Institute for
The Blessing


Coffee Cup Coaching Seminar
with Dr. Tony Wheeler

WHEN: Saturday, April 10th

TIME: 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

WHERE: Willoughby Hills Friends Church
2846 S.O.M. Center Rd
Willoughby Hills, Ohio 44094

CONTACT: Church Office @ 440-944-1026 or visit


This seminar is designed to equip the laity to care for each other and in turn reach out to the community and help families through real life issues.

This exciting training will empower people to overcome the fears they may have about reaching out and going to coffee with a friend to lend support. You will be amazed to see people set free to do the work of God in your body.

As you work with people two things become apparent. One, people are hurting and need someone who can lend a listening ear. Two, many people are gifted with counseling and communication skills in the church who are not being utilized as they should to help others in the body. The pastor and staff can never meet all of the needs of the individuals in the body, in fact, they were not meant to. The Bible makes it clear that we are to be caring for one another on an intimate level.

“Let’s Go To Coffee”

This half day seminar will prepare you to help hurting people by just being willing to care for them and offer them the same love and grace Christ has given you.

To Register for the Coffee Cup Coaching Seminar: contact the church office

Cost: $7.00 each or $10.00 per couple (includes continental breakfast)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Why Mission Work In Brazil?

Great question! For me the question is easily answered, "because Lisa said I could." Any other questions? Seriously, even though that is a legitimate answer in my life (smile) let me give you some other reasons for doing mission work in Brazil.

First, because Brazil is a field which God has cultivated for such a time as this and Evangelical Friends are ready to seed the Gospel in the soil of His preparation. Second, there is an obvious need for Kingdom development in Brazil. Though our partnership with World Renewal International we have identified over 400 communities within a one day drive of Carpina which do not have an Evangelical Church at this time. I will bring us great joy to assist the Brazilian people in establishing faith communities in their geographic location which God will use to transform individuals, their families and culture for His glory.

Third, we are Commission to go to every point on the globe by our divine Commander and Chief with a specific purpose in mind. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus said that we should "Go into all the world and make disciples baptizing them into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit," and, He adds in Acts 1:8, as His "witness in the uttermost parts of the world" (Acts 1:8). These two passages have a common theme which Evangelical Friends address theologically. We believe that Christ's atonement not only provides for the forgiveness of sin but extends to the transformation of the heart (nature of man) as well. As we go into Brazil our intent is to present Jesus as the One who can immerse humanity into the very life of God so they can emulate Jesus to their fellow countrymen!

Real lasting Kingdom building and expansion will occur in Brazil when men, women, boys and girls consecrate their whole being to Jesus and are consequently filled with the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Then the purity and love of Christ will naturally ooze from their being. Only then will the influence of Christ be fully manifest in their daily life impacting the Brazilian culture for the glory of God. This is the message of holiness and we must proclaim it to the nation. The world needs to know that Jesus Christ can speak to the condition of all!

Fourth, Jesus tells us that missions is a natural result of the consecrated life. Once we receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit we naturally participate in missions! Note with me Christ's words from John 17, after praying "sanctify them," our Lord continues, "As You sent Me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate Myself, that they may also be consecrated in truth" (18-19). Jesus demonstrated the fullness of His transformation by coming to earth as a missionary. We can concluded from this passage that a primary sign of the fullness of Christ's work in man is participation in missions.

"Going forth into the world" is a litmus test for the fullness of the Holy Spirit, an evidence of the fully sanctified life. That is one of the main reasons why Evangelical Friends are Kingdom building in Brazil ... we can't help ourselves ... it's in our spiritual DNA!

What say you? Are you passionate about local and global missions? If not then ask Jesus Christ to entirely sanctify your life today. It's yours for the asking!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Brazil Prayer Request

I ask you to pray for godspeed on my Brazilian visa. I received word today that last week's electronic submission was declined so today I Federal Expressed a hard copy to the Brazilian Consulate. They tell me the turn around time is 12-15 business days and I need it no later than March 17.

Thanks for your prayers,


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Praying Through Transition

God's leading in Halverstadt family to transition from 30 years of pastoral ministry to academics/administration at Barclay College and church planting with Evangelical Friends in Brazil requires us to sell our home and relocate in Kansas. God has graciously identified a beautiful home for us to rent in Haviland and now I request your prayers for the sale of our Eastlake home. It was listed today on the MLS with Keller Williams.

Heavenly Father,
Lisa and I have fully consecrated our lives to You and celebrate this time of transition. We thank you for the gracious opportunity you have bestowed upon us to pastor such a fine church these past 12 years and ask for You to extend grace to her in this time of change. We have made dear friends who will forever remain in our hearts and mind.

We look forward to Your work at both Barclay College and Kingdom building with Evangelical Friends in Brazil. Please extend to us Your grace in this time of transition. May You be glorified through our lives and in the sale of our home (and Yours).

In Jesus' name,

Brazil Mission

I want to thank each of you who offered to pray for the Brazil church planting project for the next 40 days. My goal was to have 40 people praying for my March trip and at this point I have 42! PTL!

I will be submitting "prayer action items" each week. Today I want to include an informational letter for you to read from Frank Penna. Frank will be traveling with me to Brazil and assisting us in planting 400 new churches. Enjoy his words and thank you again for joining the prayer team.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010,

Thanks to all who have agreed to pray with us over the next few weeks. You are joining (at least) 40 others, some from the World Renewal Family, some from the Evangelical Friends Church-Eastern Region family, and those of you in my extended family and friends. I am thrilled with the fact that we are beginning this process by bathing it in prayer and intercession. God will be faithful to hear and answer our prayers!!

I aim to keep this simple, but effective and effectiveness will have a lot to do with consistency. Just a few minutes of prayer every day by so many people over this period of time will make for great results.

To begin, I suggest you take one of more pieces of paper that you can place in strategic spots (as a bookmark in your Bible, on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror, car dash), anywhere that will serve as a reminder to pray. Write on the paper 40/400. That means we are praying for 40 days for 400 communities within a days drive of Carpina, Brazil that do not have a gospel preaching church. The Lord has opened a door for Evangelical Friends churches to be planted in those places. We need His power, His anointing, His wisdom, and more to follow His lead in that effort. Sometime soon you will receive some of the names of those communities, but for now, here are a few of the requests on my heart over the next few days. Please join me as the Lord reminds you (especially when you see 40/400!).

Please Pray:

1) That the Lord Jesus Christ will be the focus of all we say do as we proceed. In the myriad of details and decisions to be made, we want to lift Him up in order that Brazilian men, women and children will be drawn to Him and Him alone.

2) That Brazilian leaders will be raised up, called and anointed as needed for this task.

3) That the Holy Spirit will give us direction and prepare the communities where we can be most effective.

4) For Steve Turner, Adrian Halverstadt, Frank Penna and Tele Moraes as they prepare to meet for two weeks in March for planning sessions.

God bless you all. 40/400 prayers are already making a difference!

Monday, February 15, 2010

God is on the move at my church!

Yep that's right! God is on the move at my church. My church currently is Willoughby Hills Friends. I've been on staff here for 12 years and recently announced that God is calling Lisa and I into another field of ministry. Starting July 1 we will be supporting God's kingdom building as a vice president at Barclay College and planting churches in Brazil with Evangelical Friends. I can't wait to see what new adventure God unfolds for the Halverstadts in the years ahead but for now I am pumped over what God is doing in my local church!

You ask, "How do you know God is working at WHFC" and "What are the signs of His activity?" Great questions! First John 4 lays the foundation for such discernment in the body of Christ. In fact, John commissions his readers to "test the spirits at work" in the following ways to see if God is in it.

One, Is Jesus Christ being exalted? (1 John 4:2) When the Spirit of God is present Jesus Christ is exalted. When the Spirit is moving Jesus will be exalted as God who came to earth in the flesh, died for the sin(s) of mankind, rose from the grave and lives victoriously today in the lives of those who seek Him. Jesus is "center stage" in the "life production" of WHFC ... God is on the move here!

Two, The work of Satan is being thwarted (1 John 4:4). The Bible says that "God is love"(4:8), and that Satan is out to kill, steal and destroy the manifestation of God's love in humanity. WHFC is a loving church. She is unified in Christ, cares for her own, and is extending the heart of Christ to the world through local and global missions. She is actively engaged in the process of pulling down the strongholds of Satan and reclaiming the turf that rightfully belongs to the King of Glory. God is on the move in my church!

Three, People are walking in holiness (1 John 4:6). To walk in holiness means to walk with Jesus "for He is the Spirit of Truth." WHFC has a renewed interest in following Jesus and not man, in reading the Bible and submitting to its authority. Her faith and trust is in the CEO, -JESUS- and she's not going crazy during this time of change in church leadership. Such peace in a church only manifests through relationship with Jesus Christ. The evidence of God control in the life of a consecrated Christian is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. These qualities cannot be manufactured by man ... they can only be imparted into a surrendered heart through a divine act of Christ.

Atta Boy Willoughby Hills Friends ... according to John 1 you have all the signs of a church that God is blessings! It is going to be exciting to see what miracles God unfolds in your midst. I am proud to say, "That's my church!" How about you?

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Heart talk

The story is told that the gods of Olympus gathered together one day to answer a perplexing question: "Where should they hide the powers of the gods so humans can't find them?"

One god said, "At the bottom of the sea."

Another said "No, they will surely find them there. Let's put them on top of the highest mountain instead."

"No", another said. "They will be up there before you know it."

After much discussion, the gods finally agreed on where to hide their powers. They agreed on a place they're certain that humans would never look - inside their own hearts.

(taken from "Thinking for a Living" by Joey Reiman. pg 35)

Friday, January 15, 2010

State of the church address

As executive pastor it is my responsibility to compose and present a state of the church address to the members and attenders of Willoughby Hills Friends Church. We keep attendees in the loop each month on the performance of the fellowship but its always good to have an end of the year summary. Permit me to highlight the bullet points from Sunday's presentation and share with you God's leading for my life.

First of all I am pleased to say that WHFC is in a good place as we enter the new year. Three years ago the church suffered a serious split that took 300 people away and several hundreds of thousands of dollars from the annual receipts. Due to the concerted effort of all who remained we have been able to stabilize in just three years and are seeing God do incredible things in our midst!

For the second year in a row since the split we have finished financially in the black. That means we spent less money than we received. In 2009 we not only showed black ink on the bottom line but actually surpassed our approved budget! In addition we significantly exceeded our mission budget last year in giving which really speaks to the heart and vision of the congregation.

In 2009 our attendance leveled out at 1100 and began showing signs of growth. In addition, our benevolent programs exploded with growth. We moved our buses out of the four bay garage and turned it into an outreach center for the community. Also, over this past month our leadership re-affirmed the vision, mission and objectives that were established three years ago and are actively using them as a template for future strategy, staffing and ministry.

These are great days for WHFC! She is spiritually, emotionally, financially and relationally healthy enough to embrace change. At this time our leaders are revisiting and re-visioning job descriptions in preparation for staff recalls and future hires and a search committee is in place to search out a new lead pastor.

Lisa and I sense God leading us into a different type of ministry at this time. We have served in this great church for 12 years but will not be extending our call beyond June. Rather we are moving to Haviland Kansas to assume a position on the President's cabinet of Barclay College and to assist in opening a new mission field for Evangelical Friends in Brazil. We will have more information to share about our involvement in Brazil over the next several months as plans take shape. As far as the position at Barclay College is concerned I will be assuming the position of Provost/Vice President of Academic Services in July.

These are exciting days for WHFC! God is up to something big here. Please pray for the Halverstadts as we transition from Ohio to Kansas over the next several months. Let us all pray from the next team of leaders God has on the hook for WHFC and for His anointing to be over her ministry. Together let's all embrace change for the glory of our Savior-Jesus Christ.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Men's Fight Club

Chef Bubba Harth just reported that breakfast will be served at Fight Club this week! Men, gather in the Church Cafe at 7:30 am for fellowship, food and Bible study. The cost? You must listen to bad jokes and give a free will donation for the food! :-)

Passages to ponder ...

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand are pleasures forever (Psalms 16:11)

Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God will satisfy them fully (Matthew 5:6)

I will praise the Lord who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me (Psalm 16:7)

He must increase, I must decrease (John 3:30)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Men's activities ...

Men's Church at the Meetinghouse at 7 pm in room 152. Tonight's discussion topic: "The Outrageous Offerings of Christ to Humanity"

Thursday Breakfast:
7 am at Flavors on the Vine in Eastlake (one block west of SOM on Vine street)

Fight Club in the Cafe at the Meetinghouse, 7:30 am. The passage for discussion this week is I John 3.

I am ...

Here's some passages to ponder:

I am gifted with love, power and sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)
I am chosen for success (John 15:16)
I am complete in Christ Jesus (Colossians 2:9-10)
I am secure in Christ (Romans 8:31-39)
I am confident (Philippians 1:6)
I am free (Romans 6:16-18; 8:1-2)
I am capable of handling life today (Philippians 4:13)
I am the embodiment of Jesus Christ today (Ephesians 2:5)
I am God's workmanship (Ephesians 2:10)
I am valuable to God (I Corinthians 6:20)
I am a member of God's family (Ephesians 2:19)
I am God's treasure (I Peter 2:9-10)
I am dearly loved by God ((Colossians 3:12)
I am a new creation in Christ Jesus (@ Corinthians 5:17)
I am forgiven of all my sin (Ephesians 1:6-8)
I am an heir of God (Romans 8:12)
I am the friend of God (John 15:15)

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Badge of Discipleship

Jesus said, "A new command I give unto you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35). Throughout the Gospels, Christ teaches that love is the key component for those who profess His name. Author William Fletcher refers to this as the "badge of discipleship." He continues on by summarizing the important elements of Jesus' love demonstrated in the scriptures. Christ's love:

> Showed concern about people's families, homes, and health.

> He was willing to take time for people in need even though He was engaged in a busy ministry.

> He provided others faithful support in the spiritual battle by intercessory prayer.

> He extended complete forgiveness, even when it seemed undeserved.

> He humbly served others.

> He laid down His life for others.

So it is with us. If we are to love others as Jesus commanded, we must learn to express a practical love for the whole person. It must be the kind of love Jesus has demonstrated.

This kind of love only becomes a reality when our lives are totally under the Savior's control. Only then can He love others through us, so what is impossible in human strength becomes possible through the indwelling presence and power of Christ in us. Only in this way can we love others as He has loved us.

Heavenly Father reveal Yourself through me this day.
In Jesus' name, Amen.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Defining the Second Command ...

A contemporary paraphrase of the parable of the Good Samartian could go something like this:

"A man lies injured along a country road leading from Jerusalem to Jericho. Another man comes along riding on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. When he sees the injured man he immediately pulls over to the side of the road, stops, leans over and asks in a concerned tone, "would you like to use my cell phone to call someone?" Hearing nothing the biker rides off mumbling, "I hope that guy has good health coverage. He's going to need it with those injuries!"

That's hardly the attitude Jesus communicated in the parable or that John wrote of when he penned, "We know love by this, that Jesus Christ laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for our brethren. But whoever has the world's goods and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?" (I John 3:16-17). The love of God (steeped in mercy) pities and relieves the miseries of His creation. Why? Because God always responds out of His nature ... and God is love.

Fulfilling the Second Command of Jesus "to love thy neighbor" is not just a feeling, however deep or strong it might be: it is goodness in action prompted by a Divine compassion within the heart of man. A compassion that is the DNA of God imparted into the fiber of man at the point of full surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The litmus test for a true disciple of Jesus is the demonstration of love. Nothing more and nothing less!

Christians need to come face to face with this reality of scripture. Too often we attempt through our church ministries to go "win souls for Jesus" by inviting them into our services and special programming while ignoring the obvious physical needs of those who pass us by. Jesus never separated the two. We must always be mindful that Christ put the "Go" into the "Gospel" for a reason. For a church that stays behind brick and mortar never really has opportunity to love the world as Jesus did.

G. H. Morrison writes,
"Love never asks how little can I do ... love always asks how much. Love does not merely go to the measured mile ... love travels to the uttermost. Love never haggles, never bargains, with nicely calculated less or more. Love is generous ... abounding in grace and mercy."

Thanks for stopping by today!

Genuine relationship

"I want to ...

Love you without clutching, appreciate you without judging, join you without invading, invite you without demanding, leave you without guilt, criticize you without blaming, and help you without insulting.

If I can have the same from you, then we can truly meet and enrich each other."

(Taken from a poster in an alcoholic rehabilitation center)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Get real!

What is real? asked the Rabbit one day before Nana came to tidy the room. Does it mean having things that buzz or whistle inside you or a handle that sticks out?

Real isn't how you are made said the Skin Horse. It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become REAL!

Doesn't it hurt? asked the Rabbit.

Of course, said the Skin Horse because he was always truthful. But when you are real you don't mind being hurt because that is what Real does.

Does it hurt all at once or more like being wound up bit by bit? asked Rabbit.

It doesn't happen all at once, said the Skin Horse. It's a process and it takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.

Generally by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in the joints and very shabby looking. But when you are Real these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to the people who don't understand (Margery Williams, "The Velveteen Rabbit", pgs. 16-17).

The second command of Jesus Christ is to "love thy neighbor" (Matthew 22). Easier said than done eh? Love involves pain as modeled by the life of Jesus Christ. Real people love and love really hurts. Unfortunately without Christ many turn away from the pain of love. Selfishly thinking, "I deserve better!" Believing they have a right not to hurt. Some things however can only be experienced through suffering and loss ... being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ is first and foremost.

Getting Real means to expect (even anticipate) suffering and pain in relationship with others. It will involve seeing the heart of God at work rather than Satan through adverse circumstances and in the face and actions of the difficult people you live or work with. Becoming Real means re framing life's expectations to include self-giving and self-sacrificing for others "as unto the Lord" as the norm.

What say you?

Monday, January 4, 2010

God always behaves like Himself

God always behaves like Himself and how grateful I am that this is so. No matter what the occasion God always responds out of His nature ... and God is love. One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 31:3, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness."

Such love is fully explained through the life of Jesus Christ. For Jesus Christ brings us face to face with the love of God. Jesus Christ is the embodiment of God "demonstrating His own love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). I like the story of the little boy who suffered from reoccurring nightmares one evening. His Dad would rush to his side in comfort each time and say, "son there is no need for you to fear because God is right here beside you." Each time the young boy would reply, "okay dad" and soon return to sleep. However after several bouts he said to his dad with tears streaming down his face, "I know God is with me but I need someone with skin on!"

John reminds us that our benevolent God "became flesh and lived among us." That's what Love (God) does. He gives us "skin" when we need it! This is true of His followers as well. We will naturally be "skin" for others because we share the nature of God.

Dr. Warren Wiersbe describes the nature of God in man as though it were a compass. Just as a compass always responds to the magnetic field of the earth so will man respond to the love of God manifest through our "skin". When we put on the "skin" of Jesus for others and get close to them they will sense the power, presence and draw of God in respond to His nature. God will always behave like Himself ... in and through you! So put on your Jesus skin and go live your life to the fullest. His love will do the rest!

Thanks for stopping by!